When I was but a child-bride, I yearned to please my handsome husband, so I dreamed of concocting hearty breakfasts, luscious lunches, and delightful dinners. This wasn’t to be. We had wisely married while still in college so were in possession of two things money couldn’t buy, abject poverty and true love. We were just scraping by. After about two weeks, about all we had left in the refrigerator was a half-loaf of bread, mustard, a couple of lonely, frozen chicken gizzards, and an old, dry sliver of cheddar cheese. I fried those chicken gizzards up nice and hard, sliced them as thin as possible, added the slivered cheddar cheese and sat down with My Darling to enjoy the amazing delicacy. It was the worst thing I ever tried to eat. The piquant taste of overdone gizzard slathered with mustard was not a good companion taste for the dried out cheddar cheese. I was never tempted to try that combo again.
Bud is a good man, but I can’t live with him when he’s hungry. I have no doubt he’d lay down his life from me, but I do believe he’d rather I ran around with another man than cook around on him. Anyway, I digress. At five p.m. Today, it occurred to me I’d never made it to the grocery store today. I had an egg plant, half a pound of ground sausage, 1/2 cup leftover brown gravy, and half a cup of frozen seasoned bread crumbs. I sautéed half a diced onion and some fresh garlic and the sausage. To the mix I added chopped eggplant, while cooking the shelled out eggplant in the microwave for two minutes. I seasoned the mix with salt, pepper, parsley, Tony Zacharie’s Cajun Seasoning, sprinkled with Feta cheese and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It was excellent served with home canned green beans. I am still married.
Since my post yesterday, I’ve gotten many questions about grits. Grits are a hot cereal, made from treating field corn with a lye process. Afterward, the grits are simmered, served as a breakfast cereal with butter and maybe sugar and milk. At our house, we spoon grits over eggs. (no sugar or milk) One of the most succulent and delicious dishes on this planet is Shrimp and Grits. If you ever see it on the menu at a coastal restaurant in the South or Southeast, order it, no matter who laughs at you. Be prepared to guard it with your life when it gets to the table. Everybody who laughed when you ordered will want a bite when they see how happy you are. Let them suffer!
Another regional favorite is Hog’s Head Cheese. Farm kids learn early, it’s best not to be friends with a pig you plan to butcher. This delicacy has nothing to do with cheese and everything to do with a hog’s head. It is very simple to prepare, for those of you who are already smacking your lips. The next time you butcher a hog, save the head. Scald it in boiling, soapy water before scrubbing and scraping off the whiskers. With your fingers, pry the eyeballs out, taking care not to rupture them. That is extremely disagreeable and makes it harder to get the membranes out of the sockets. You can throw in the feet if you don’t plan to make Pickled Pig’s Feet. When the head is thoroughly clean, boil it until all the flesh, contents of the head, skin, and cartilage fall off the bone. Try to let it boil low toward the end, so the broth will be reduced. Debone, reserving broth. Chop meat, add large minced onions, about eight cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper per pound of meat, three to five tablespoons sage, red pepper if you like spicy. Add 1/2 vinegar. Mix in enough of reserved broth to mix till consistency of cooked oatmeal. Pour into loaf pans. Cover with foil and cool overnight. By the next morning can be turned out and sliced for cold cuts or rolled in egg and flour and browned in skillet. Store covered in refrigerator up to a week. Freezes well
I recommend you serve it with Poke-Salad, Fried Mountain Oysters, Buzzard Butter, Pickled Pig’s Feet, Hopping John, and Hush Puppies.